Vintage Knitting, Retro Dressmaking, Make do and Mend, Original and Vintage Inspired Knitting Patterns, Vintage Inspired books

Sunday, August 29, 2010

In The Loop Two

Its been a busy week since getting back from Goodwood, some good reasons some not so good. One good reason though is that tomorrow morning we drive off into the sunrise for a 24 hour journey to Shetland. We are trying the ferry for the first time as we have a heap of stuff to take with us. We have a nine hour drive to Aberdeen and then a fourteen hour ferry trip! Overnight, so hopefully I will sleep through most of it. I'm not really a boat person so this is a big test for me.

The reason we are going is that on Thursday morning I am the opening keynote speaker at the In The Loop Two conference being held at the Shetland Museum. I have a 45 minute slot which is quite a long time to be talking! I am also official photographer for The Knitter which is rather exciting, so will be going everywhere with my camera round my neck to make sure I don't miss anything.

I will report back with a longer post on our return, but in the meantime wish me luck for my boat ride.

for now
Ruby xx

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vintage at Goodwood - Part II

There has been quite a lot of negative feedback about this event. I for one, am really not in a position to comment on the organisational side of things as I wasn't directly involved in that side of the event, and to be honest despite one or two hiccups, had a thoroughly lovely time. I was invited to attend as a volunteer to teach knitting at the Vintage School sponsored by Oxfam.

 Each attendee paid £5 for their class which was donated directly to Oxfam.  I taught some lovely ladies to crochet, some to knit and some how to make handknitted dress clips and buttons.

The high street was cleverly constructed using prefabricated buildings which were disguised with ply wood shop fronts like Hollywood films of old.

I had my hair curled here.

And watched Curse of the Werewolf at midnight here.

One of the highlights for me was bumping into glamorous retro girls wearing garments from A Stitch in Time. I tried to get photos whenever possible, without scaring people half to death! Here are two To Set off your Summer Frocks together.

This photo was taken just before The Chap Olympiad where my old friend and model for A Stitch in Time, Fleur de Guerre was working. Here are Fleur and I together.

 Bizarrely, during the photography for  A Stitch in Time I don't think there was a single shot of me and the models together. I'm going to make sure I get some this time round when photographing Volume 2. I also bumped into my friends The Shellac Sisters, who very kindly volunteered to come and DJ outside of my Vintage Knitting class.

One of my favourite places was the Torch Club, which was a 1940s themed dance hall. Here's me with my hair newly curled, and Gavin in his new slip over. This slip over matches the Father's new socks pattern from Vintage Gifts to Knit and will also be available as a pattern in the near future. Gavin got into the spirit of the event too, buying some brylcreem to slick back his hair and shaving off his beard to leave a 40s style moustache.

There was lots of music on over the three days - my favourites were Earth, Wind and Fire, who were  everything I wanted them to be and more, and Heaven 17, who took me back to my youth, playing songs from Penthouse and Pavements and finishing with Temptation. I unfortunately missed Squeeze who made a guest appearance during someone else's show. We particularly enjoyed the Let it Rock! stage at night, although the name is somewhat misleading as it had a very eclectic line up of musical acts from The Lady Luck Club to Wanda Jackson to The Damned, with a little Burlesque thrown in too!

Despite some rain, having to camp - which bizarrely, I thoroughly enjoyed and having several copies of Vintage Gifts to Knit stolen, which really saddened me, I had a great time, and hope there will be a next time.

For now
Ruby xxx

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vintage at Goodwood

August is turning into rather a crazy month for needing to be places. We're not having a holiday this year (again!) but the lovely people at Vintage at Goodwood have invited me along to take a vintage knitting class in the fashion workshop run by Oxfam at this weekend's extravaganza. Originally I was only going to go on the Sunday and run my workshop but with recent changes to my teaching calendar up in Scotland (as previously mentioned) I am able to travel down with Gavin and Charlie and spend three days camping in Sussex enjoying this wonderful festival of five decades of British Design. If the weather is good I hope to sit outside the tent and make some hand knitted buttons to demonstrate how quickly you can knit something useful! Then the dilemma of what to wear. Now this isn't your usual festival, there's going to be a lot of dressing up going on. So what on earth to wear? And what to pack! There's a great post over on retro chick's website giving some useful advice. I'm going to set my hair tightly tonight and hopefully it will get through four days, however there are hairdressers on site! So if I get desperate I might go and get my hair done by a vintage expert. I am definitely taking my favourite 50s original dress.

I'm wearing it here with one of the new designs from A Stitch in Time vol 2 from the 1950s section. Its a gorgeous bolero with this pretty harebell stitch up the sleeves and across the front yokes. I've knitted it in Biggan Design 4 ply wool and the colour is very close to that shown in the original pattern. There is a short sleeved sweater to wear under that will be getting knitted very soon.

Really, this is just an excuse to show photos of me with my lovely Charlie on the day of her 18th! On this photo you can see the detail on the sleeve more clearly.

I love this photo.

I am working on some very special knitting while I am away. My very good friends John and Juliet of John Arbon Textiles get married in 10 days and they have both requested a knitted garment as part of their wedding outfits. More will be revealed after the event but I'm particularly excited as both garments are being made from a new vintage inspired yarn that we have been working on called Excelana. It is pure wool from the Exmoor/blue face Leicester cross sheep, a rare breed that live on Exmoor in Devon. Initially there will be a 3 ply, a 4 ply and a double knit weight in each of 8 vintage colours that I have carefully selected. It is a wonderful, wonderful yarn, with an attractive halo and is surprisingly soft to the touch for a british breed. I love it and can't wait to tell you more about it over the next few weeks, but right now, I've got to go and get packing. I'm not quite sure how to fit 26 dresses, 60 jumpers and 8 pairs of shoes into a small bag so I might have to cut back slightly!

Here's hoping for no rain this weekend!
for now,
Ruby xxx

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

18 today!

My gorgeous little baby girl is 18 years old today. I can't believe where the time has gone and am always so aware of how lucky I am to have her. 18 years ago yesterday I was rushed into hospital with pre-eclampsia, my kidneys had failed, I was going into shock and was given 3 hours for us both to live. The choices were stark. Have an emergancy ceasarian section which could kill my unborn baby or we would both be dead within hours. After an incredibly scary time in the operating theatre my little girl was born at 28 weeks weighing 2lb 1 oz.

Her lungs were not yet functioning and she was kept alive by an injection of an artificial lung fluid, which opened the lungs up enabling her to breath. I too was seriously ill and didn't actually get to see my baby for 4 whole days, when she was wheeled in to my room in an incubator on her way to another hospital without me. The following few days were a nightmare, with me fighting constantly with the hospital authority to let me join my daughter. Eventually they agreed and I moved with her to the Special Care Baby Unit at Fazakerley Hospital in Liverpool. My poor baby had tubes everywhere. I remember the first time I was allowed to hold her that was all I could actually feel!

 Looking at this photo still makes me want to cry.

You can see in this photo just how small she was compared to her dad's hand. Note her little prem baby hats in each of these photos made by some wonderfully caring, unknown knitter.

After 9 whole weeks in hospital she was finally allowed home weighing just under 5 lbs. 18 years ago it was very difficult to buy prem baby clothes or to get knitting patterns for them either, so my little love came home in Tiny Tears clothes bought in Toys 'r' us...

I still have many of her tiny clothes and they are so small its unbelievable. Please ignore the worn out woman on the right. I hadn't slept very well for a few weeks!

Forgive me if I've told this story before but I am so, so proud of my Charlie and so grateful to have her in my life. She really is the best daughter any mum could ask for. And look at her now, so beautiful! (and short!)

We are off now for a family meal and tomorrow evening I am out on the town with my little girl and her friends!

but for now,
Ruby xxx